Does This Photo Show the Milky Way From Perseverance Mars Rover?


{A photograph} reportedly taken from NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover was mentioned to seize what the floor of the purple planet appeared like, together with a dramatic skyscape of the Milky Way illuminated by vibrant shades of pinks and purples.

Perseverance touched down on Feb. 18 and can spend the subsequent two years drilling and accumulating rock, visible, and audio samples to assist scientists on Earth decide whether or not Earth’s celestial cousin was as soon as residence to different life. In the week after its touchdown, “Percy” despatched again selfies, pictures of a Martian sundown, and carried with it a secret message hidden in the folds of its parachute.

But by no means did the rover seize such a dramatic visualization of the night time sky as the one proven above. The {photograph} in query was created by digital actuality filmmaker Hugh Hou, and shared on Facebook on Feb. 23, 5 days after Perseverance landed. Yet with greater than 1.6 million shares, the “virtual tour” was extensively circulated on social media, with many customers assuming that the {photograph} precisely depicted the Milky Way as seen from Mars.

But a fast take a look at the authentic submit revealed that Hou had edited the {photograph}, stitching collectively a extremely color-saturated {photograph} of the Milky Way with precise images of Percy as taken from the rover’s navigation cameras, or “Navcams. The Milky Way galaxy, which became the internet focus of the panorama, was not captured by the rover, and was instead edited to create a “full 360 experience.” The sky doesn’t symbolize the actual sky from Mars, in line with the picture’s creator.

In an extra remark shared by the Hou to Facebook on Feb. 24, the creator confirmed our score:

Snopes spoke with Brandon Rodriguez, an schooling specialist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who mentioned that the cameras on the rover wouldn’t have the functionality to seize such an in depth picture of the night time sky from Mars. The picture might have been taken from anyplace on Earth, Rodriguez mentioned.

However, the {photograph} does include parts of genuine pictures captured by Percy, together with six particular person photos stitched collectively after they have been despatched again to Earth on Feb. 20. At least two of those pictures have been present in NASA’s 2020 Mission Perseverance Rover gallery. Two images taken by the rover’s Navcams on Feb. 20 present a close-up take a look at the rover and its Martian panorama. The view seen in the first photo offered a take a look at the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an instrument saved on the rover’s arm that’s used to establish chemical parts and take close-up footage of rock and soil textures.


The second photograph was captured by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard Percy, and confirmed the rover’s calibration goal, which helps to calibrate photos of the Martian terrain to regulate for adjustments in brightness and mud in the ambiance all through the day.

“The white square plate containing a grid of circular-colored disks mounted farther to the aft on the rover is the calibration target for the SuperCam instrument. To the left of the image, the dusty and rocky Martian surface is visible at the Perseverance rover’s landing site in Jezero crater,” wrote NASA.


Snopes contacted Hou for touch upon his art work, however didn’t obtain a response at the time of publication. If we hear again, we’ll replace the article accordingly.




Leave a comment